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Searching for Bin Laden  (View post)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, May 25, 2006
16 years ago4,544 views

can you trend this aginst George Bush too ?? :)-

Henrique Gusso [PersonRank 2]

16 years ago #

Just pointing that in Google Trends putting " around terms won't do you any good. Google Trends separate each term by commas, so if there is no comma, all of the words will already be considered as a term, and if so, you'll get news on them. So instead of getting no news for "bin laden", you will get some for bin laden.

justinf [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

have a look at who is searching for "usama"

Elias KAI [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

or osama as most newspapers use

Elias KAI [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Danish English and Finnish are predominant, but still it doesnt tell that much since we did not use the query in chinese or arabic.

So when it comes to Languages, google trends has to show options by traslating the query into each language

Charles Schenck [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

search for the word masterbation in trends and the Salt Lake City Ut. comes up first, there is a strong correlation between mormon and the m word as well.

Bob [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

If only it was that easy...even Bush could use that interface!

menneke [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

I'm not quite sure that we are interpreting the chart correctly.

Since Google introduced the trends everybody has been doing it like this, but Google has this to say this about their Cities tab: "... Google Trends first looks at a sample of all Google searches to determine the cities from which we received the most searches for your first term. Then, for those top cities, Google Trends calculates the ratio of searches for your term coming from each city divided by total Google searches coming from the same city. The city ranking you see on the page and the bar charts alongside each city name both represent this ratio. When cities' ratios are fairly close together, the corresponding bar graphs will be roughly the same length, and the exact ranking between these cities is less meaningful."


1) the cities in the list seem to represent the top 10 of the locations where the given search term was used, so far is true (or at least the locations where the connection to the internet was made, it could be your ISP's location too).
2) but then, and this had me head-spinning for a while too, for each of these locations Google calculates the ratio of searches for your term divided by total Google searches.

This means that we can safely conclude that Washington and New York are ranking in the top 10 locations for "bin laden" (as per the first rule), but it does not necessarily mean that Washington generates more searches for "bin laden" than New York does (as per the second rule). Why is that? Because if Washington generates fewer TOTAL Google searches than New York, it would ALWAYS rank higher than New York with an EQUAL number of searches for "bin laden". That's how the ratio is defined.

Washington total Google searches = 100
Washington "bin laden" searches = 5
Washington ratio = 5/100 = 0.05

New York total Google searches = 200
New York "bin laden" searches = 8
New York ratio = 8/200 = 0.04

Washington WINS? I didn't think so...

I particularly like the last sentence in Google's definition: "..., and the exact ranking between these cities is less meaningful." I.m.h.o. it is rarely meaningful at all.

justin flavin [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

menneke – washington does indeed win – the ratio is greater.

Lets say 1000 searches coming from London, and 50 per cent are for "bin laden". that means that 50 per cent of google users in London are looking for bin laden.

now , say, you have , at the same time 1,000,000 searches from New York, and 1,000 searches for "bin laden"

London does win – because the ratio is far far higher than New York, even though more "bin laden" searches came from New York.

therefore – London is more interested in "bin laden" than New York is.

justin flavin [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

for example – here's the trend for "coca cola"

buenos aires, atlanta and bogota have bigger populations than the no.1 "monterrey" – but proportionally, "monterrey" is more interested in "coca cola"

if google didnt have the ratios , and just show the pure numbers, we would just have the big cities ALWAYS displayed , like mexico city, tokyo, london , new york, L.A. and so forth.

menneke [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

justin: you're right and I'm right ;-)

It all depends on how you define "win". Back to the original article where Philipp says "Who’s searching the most for Bin Laden? Washington, DC." He says "searching the most", which would lead many to believe that searches for "bin laden" are the highest in Washington. I have demonstrated that that is not necessarily the case. Judging from other articles, blogs and newsgroups most people interpret the chart this (wrong) way and could come to the wrong conclusions.

Now, as to the informational value of knowing that a certain city (or country or language group) is relatively more interested in topic A (relative to their interest in other topics) than another location is, from my point of view as a web master, it is worthless. Maybe for an anthropologist or sociologist there could be some value in these factoids, but i.m.h.o. it has little practical value for SEO. Who else is going to use it?

justin flavin [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #


it would be nice to be able to switch off the ratio calculations and just have a pure unadultered bar graph.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Yes, the data seems to be normalized... good point. Washington is searching the most for Bin Laden, in relation to its number of inhabitants.

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